Two common themes that have emerged for me about Servant Leadership are legacy and joy. In Journey to the East, Hesse (1956) writes, “The law of service. He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule does not live long (pg. 34).”
Horsman’s idea of pass it on is an example of where we see how legacy can impact a team. What one leader does has a ripple effect that spreads far past a business result or goal. Wambach (2019) writes, “They spent their lives and careers building something that many of them knew they’d never get to take advantage of – but they did it anyway.” There is a vulnerability in choosing to serve first. To be a servant-leader is to accept that we may never see or understand the impact of how we lead.
The second theme I find consistently in servant Leadership is joy. I hope we all get to experience the kind of leader that is a joy to be around – the kind who inspires trust and teaches as much as they direct. Greenleaf (2002, pg. 57) spoke of how joy is created inward and generated outward. As servant-leaders we have the capacity for extreme amounts of joy that we can then project outwardly. Brooks (2019, pg. 28) writes, “The people who radiate a permanent joy have given themselves over to lives of deep and loving commitment. Giving has become their nature, and little by little they have made their souls incandescent.”
Is joy a metric we can use to weigh the effectiveness of servant leadership?
Brooks, D. (2019). The second mountain the quest for a moral life. New York: Random House.
Greenleaf, R. K., & Spears, L. C. (2002). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of
legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.
Hesse, H. (1957). Journey to the east. New York: Picador.
Wambach, A. (2019). Wolfpack: How to come together, unleash our power, and change the game. New York: Celadon Books.